India to rank 9th in top 20 source markets for tourism to the US by 2021
The US has witnessed a steady increase in Indian tourists. According to the US Department of Commerce, in 2014, India ranked 11th amongst the top 20 tourist generating countries for the US with 961,790 arrivals, an increase of 11.9 per cent over the previous year. By 2021, India is projected to jump up to the ninth position and is expected to constitute a larger portion of all arrivals to the US, averred Carroll Rheem, vice president – research and analytics, Brand USA on the sidelines of Brand USA’s recently concluded fourth annual India Mission organised for the Indian travel trade across Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi. She added, “We are excited to see India become the head of the pack in terms of GDP growth, which is a strong economic indicator and that is why we believe a strong growth rate in terms of arrivals. The GDP growth forecast from The World Bank places India at around eight per cent in the years to come.”
Despite the rupee slumping below INR 66/dollar, Brand USA hopes that there won’t be any significant impact on the arrivals. Elaborating on this, Rheem stated, “Historically speaking, for roughly every 10 per cent increase in the value of the dollar against any currency there is an approximate two per cent negative impact on arrivals. Generally most travellers do not make changes to their travel plans until it reaches about 10 per cent and above. Recently, the dollar strengthened a bit compared to 2013 by a little over 10 per cent. We might start to see some impact and if we do it will be very slight. However, until now we do not think there has been any significant impact on arrivals.”
The US has witnessed a strong growth in the VFR segment. “We do a survey every year on Indian long haul travellers travelling for leisure outside of Asia. One of the things that we ask is if they have friends or family living in the US and about 80 per cent of them reply in the affirmative,” she opined, adding that, Houston, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, are quite popular among the Indians, while Hawaii in the recent times has seen to be gaining ground.